This blog post was written in partnership with Phyn. All opinions are my own.
There are lots of ways tech can upgrade your home in ways you never dreamed of. Smart lighting that helps you get to sleep, for instance, or devices that make the air your family breathes cleaner and safer.
Smart thermostats have been helping us save energy and money on our heating and cooling bills for years now, but it’s time to tackle that other utility— your water use. Right now, things are pretty opaque— it’s hard to know which appliances (or family members) are the biggest water hogs, and if you spring a leak while you’re on vacation, you’ll be none the wiser… until you come home and find your personal effects floating in a pool in your living room.
Phyn is a sleek little device that bills itself as the smart water assistant that pulls back the curtain on your water usage, and is smart enough to prevent flood disasters too.
After you install it (and it is EASY to install— I grabbed a wrench and had mine in place in about 20 minutes), it keeps close track of how much water is being used in your household and how it’s being used—in the shower, kitchen sink, or washing machine, for example—while also watching for leaks.
Why monitor your water use?
When it comes to smart tech these days, there is always this question: Is it necessary? Do you really need sensors and an app to tell you that your teenagers’ showers are way too long?
If you’ve ever come home to a flooded basement or a bathtub that overflowed and ruined the floor, you know the answer. Beyond disasters, however, there are quite a few reasons Phyn is incredibly helpful.
How Phyn Works
One of the coolest things about Phyn is that while it sounds like it would involve a complex network of wires or sensors within your walls, it’s actually just a small device that fits under your kitchen sink.
Once it’s installed, Phyn listens for patterns in your water use by monitoring pressure changes in your pipes. As it learns what each water fixture’s patterns sound like, it’ll break down your water use by fixture in the Phyn app. It will also give you numbers to compare how your household’s water use compares to other households of the same size. Using those numbers, you’ll be able to make adjustments that can save you money. If you notice, for example, that your super-old washing machine is using way more water than average, you might be inspired to upgrade to a newer, more water-efficient model and know right away what kind of savings you could expect with each laundry load.
This isn’t just good for your budget. Saving water is great for the environment, too, especially at a time when using natural resources judiciously is more important than ever.
How Phyn Detects Leaks
Saving money is nice. But saving your belongings and preventing costly water damage is even better. Because Phyn gets to know the patterns of your family’s water usage, it can send you an alert if anything seems a little off… and whether it’s a tiny drip leak under a little-used bathroom sink or a full-blown burst pipe in the basement, you’ll get a head’s up right away, so you can get a plumber over to check things out. Phyn can even tell when ice crystals start to form on a pipe, so you can call a plumber and deal with the issue before they freeze and burst.
And if you don’t have a plumber? You can dial up a certified HomeAdvisor plumber from right inside the Phyn app, and you’ll get a call back within 10 minutes… how cool is that?
Phyn’s Two Models
Phyn’s original model, the Phyn Plus ($699), is larger, and the install was more involved. A plumber installs it at your water main, and its killer feature is the automatic shut-off… if there is a problem with the water line, you can shut of ALL the water to your home remotely, with the Phyn app. A great option, especially for a vacation home or rental property.
Phyn’s new smart water assistant is smaller, and less expensive ($299) and fits under your kitchen sink. And if you’re handy, you can install it on your own in 20 minutes (I swear, I did it, and I would NOT call myself a plumbing maven!). It doesn’t have the automatic shut-off, but whereas other systems require you to add a sensor under every sink or appliance, one Phyn under your kitchen sink can monitor the whole house.
Once it’s installed it starts learning all about your family’s water habits right away, and that’s when the fun starts. And if your 15-year-old daughter swears she’s cut her showers down to ten minutes, you’ll know if that’s a major exaggeration—even if you’re already at the office.
Thank you to Phyn for partnering on this post, and providing a Phyn Smart Water Assistant for testing.